South Africa: The Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) highlights the dark side of the mining sector

Author: Martha Marcuson, Global Witness, Published on: 10 February 2020

"A tale of two indabas: Cape Town's parallel mining conferences and "the new scramble for Africa"", 6 February 2020  

In Cape Town this week, two very different conferences on the mining sector have been taking place. The annual African Mining Indaba (industry indaba)...[and] the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI), which was set up due to the historical exclusion of civil society from the main conference, reveals the often catastrophic human and environmental impacts of the mining industry..

A glance at the mining news stories that have hit the headlines over the past year indicates why the industry must take the concerns of affected communities a lot more seriously...

Vedanta...hit the headlines in 2019 when the UK Supreme Court ruled that 1826 Zambian villagers could sue Vedanta and its Zambian subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in the UK over alleged damage to their land and water from copper mining effluent, and claims that this effected their health, causing illnesses and permanent injuries. The decision was a landmark for the legal treatment of parent-subsidiary relationships in UK law...

Another regular indaba attendee...Vale, made the news after the collapse of a tailings dam in Brumadinho, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, killed 250 people in January 2019...Last month it was announced that Brazilian prosecutors have filed charges against 16 people, including murder charges, in relation to the disaster...While impunity for harms is a trend that has long been associated with the mining industry, in this case at least, it may not be a story of business as usual for those responsible...

These stories, and many more that have garnered less attention, illustrate the devastation that can be wrought by the mining industry...   

   

 

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Related companies: Vale Vedanta Resources